The luxury market, hit hard by recession, is coming back strong in a positive sign for the economy.
U.S. spending on luxury goods and services jumped 29 percent in the third quarter from the second, according to a new survey by Unity Marketing.
It polled 1,068 people with average annual income of $228,800. Their luxury spending hit $18,826 each last quarter, up from $14,554 in the prior quarter and $13,429 a year earlier.
In the second quarter, wealthy shoppers had trimmed their spending 3.2 percent from the first quarter.
"No question that this quarter's increase in spending on luxury is good news for luxury marketers. Many affluent consumers released pent-up demand in the third quarter, particularly in the area of home luxury goods and experiential luxuries, like travel and dining," Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing, said in a statement.
The ultra wealthy, those bringing in more than $250,000 a year, led the increase.
To be sure, not all the news on the luxury front is good. "Affluent consumers at the lowest-income level ($100,000-$149,999) simply dropped out of the luxury market this quarter by refusing to trade up to the luxury level,” Danziger said.
“So this quarter's luxury tracking study was heavily weighted toward those in the upper-income levels.”
And the gains may not continue in any case. A Harrison Group poll shows that consumers with discretionary income of more than $250,000 plan to slash their holiday spending 21 percent this year to $3,269.
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